Ellen S Woodward: New Deal Advocate for Women

By Crocker, Ruth | National Forum, Summer 1996 | Go to article overview

Ellen S Woodward: New Deal Advocate for Women


Crocker, Ruth, National Forum


MARTHA H. SWAIN. Ellen S. Woodward: New Deal Advocate for Women. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1995. 275 pages. $40.00.

Programs to relieve poverty in America have often contained the provision that recipients be compelled to perform some work. This "work-relief' requirement which harkens back to the English New Poor Law (1834) was incorporated into New-Deal relief for millions of unemployed men.

Thus, the New Deal, in some ways a radical departure in social provision, also enshrined the principle of work-relief, making it the condition for relief for millions of the unemployed. But could women be recipients and should they be made to work? Poor and unemployed women, often single or widowed, faced New-Deal government administrators who still had to be convinced that women were breadwinners with families to support.

The relief that women received and the work-programs devised for them have been much criticized by historians. Julia Blackwelder in Women of the Depression called them "inconsistently administered and always inadequate to meet women's needs," noting that local control often meant racial segregation and that women workers employed in federal sewing rooms, bookbinderies, and domestic training programs were paid less than the men employed on the better-known WPA construction projects (128).

Martha Swain's new biography of Ellen Woodward focuses on the littleknown administrator of one of these programs, the Women's Division of the Works Progress Administration, which at its height in February 1936 provided work for over 400,000 women.

Why would a female administrator like Woodward be responsible for such second-rate programs for poor women, programs that reflected the mistaken notion that women were not really breadwinners at all and therefore could not be considered unemployed? A spate of recent studies on New-Deal women in government has produced different answers.

While it is well known that the New Deal marked a high point of women's influence in Washington, with such prominent women as Grace Abbott, Frances Perkins, and Molly Dewson involved in policy-making, historians such as Linda Gordon who write on policies affecting poor and minority women (and whose book on the history of entitlements, Pitied But Not Entitled was reviewed by this author in the Summer 1995 issue of National Forum) are quite critical of the effect of New-Deal policies on poor women.

Martha Swain, in what will surely be the standard account of its subject, argues that these programs were the best that could be done for poor women. She attempts to rescue the reputation of their administrator, Ellen S. Woodward. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ellen S Woodward: New Deal Advocate for Women
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.